You might not have guessed it from the beginning, when Team USA led Iran just 4-0 after six sluggish minutes, but Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and Wildcats freshmen Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington cruised in their 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup opener Saturday in Egypt.
Diallo scored 8 points in the first four minutes of the second half, then Washington unleashed his full arsenal of unusual skills for a 6-foot-8 forward — dribbling, driving, dishing and finishing — as USA rolled to a 108-48 victory. The Kentucky duo combined for 30 points.
Diallo opened the third quarter with a driving layup, then a coast-to-coast burst and finish in traffic and a corner 3-pointer. Washington drove for a monster jam to double up Iran, 63-31, and followed with another fleet-footed driving bucket in the lane. Diallo delivered a two-handed block inside and a high-flying dunk in transition; Washington finished a nifty three-point play; Diallo dribbled circles around defenders on the perimeter and swished a 3 from the right wing.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 1, 2017
When the dust settled, Diallo had a team-high 17 points (7 of 9 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and no turnovers in 16 minutes, while Washington had 13 points (6 of 9 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 15 minutes. Combine that with Kentucky sophomore Tai Wynyard’s 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in New Zealand’s opener, and it was a good day for the Wildcats.
Three 5-star recruits from the Class of 2018 with UK offers played in the opener: forward Cameron Reddish had 14 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals in 24 minutes; point guard Immanuel Quickley had 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 17 minutes; and shooting guard Romeo Langford had 5 points and 2 assists in 8 minutes.
USA vs Iran highlights
What’s next for Team USA in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup?
Calipari, Diallo, Washington and the U.S. team will face Angola on Sunday, July 2, at 12:15 p.m. ET in the second game of pool play. Team USA is in Group D. Its final pool-play game will be Tuesday, July 4, at 10:30 a.m. ET against Italy. Matchups and times for the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals July 5-9 are not yet set.
How can I watch Team USA in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup?
USA vs Iran box score